How did you find yoga?
Yoga found me my freshman year of College. I was 18, had been a very recent victim of sexual assault on the College campus, and suffering from depression, insecurity, and a subsequent eating disorder. Needless to say, I was not in the best place in my life.
I was an actress, however. And if you want to act, to sing, to MOVE your body with ease–you need to learn yoga.
The yoga started small. I actually remember HATING the first real yoga class I ever took. It was so HARD. I felt unable to do anything. It was miserable, awful, and I just felt super uncomfortable the entire time.
But for some reason I went back. And then I went back again. Yoga became a daily routine.
I remember taking a class in Manhattan at Laughing Lotus and sobbing during savasana, as I finally learned to let go of my past, my unhealthy eating habits, and my anger, sorrow, and pain. But then again I freaked out. Because I thought, duh, there is no way that crying in yoga can be normal! I talked to the sweetest teacher afterwards (her name was Rachel) and she gave me a BIG hug. She was the best possible supporter at that time.
I eventually found that I was taking yoga off the mat, into my runs, into my journaling, into my time at church, my meditation, everywhere.
Yoga became a part of me.
How are you courageous?
Yoga has taught me to keep breathing when life gets hard. When a posture is difficult, we must keep breathing so that we discover what lives on the other side of fear.
I still get scared in yoga poses. Resistance comes up in inversions, deep back-bends, sometimes even in forward folds. But I keep breathing. I keep inhaling and exhaling. Because I know that something beautiful will come when I just let the fear be there and continue despite the fear.
It takes great courage to really practice yoga. To be authentically you in each and every moment.
What are the benefits of your practice?
Yoga taught me that it was OK to be me.
Yoga has also been amazing for my spinal curve and as cross-training for my running. I have scoliosis which results in back pain and has a ripple effect on my hips, neck, leg–even my toes!! Yoga helps me to find symmetry and find length in my spine so that I can live pain free.
Also as a runner, yoga has made me stronger, faster, and more supple. I can chat my entire way through a half marathon with nine minute miles and never feel fatigued thanks to pranayama! And thanks to yoga post-race, I am able to go about the rest of my day and activities with ease!